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Nothing beats the taste of homegrown seasonal produce that’s been lovingly tended and picked for optimal ripeness. The sweet juice of perfectly ripe berries, the distinctive aroma of sun ripened tomatoes and the crunch when you bite into a freshly picked cucumber just can’t be matched by supermarket produce.
There’s never been a better time to learn how to grow your own food. With the cost of living rising, being able to ‘shop’ in your garden is a great way to beat the price rises at the supermarket and cut down on plastic packaging.
Winter is the perfect time for planning and building no-dig garden beds ready for spring planting. They are easy to construct and provide nutrients to plants for a long time as they slowly break down into beautiful garden soil. They can be constructed on almost any surface, from lawn to driveways, making them an ideal way for renters to get growing.
On the Barwon South West Zero Waste Map, you can filter the ‘Learn To’ category to find opportunities to ‘Learn to Grow Food’. Community Gardens and Neighbourhood Houses can be a great way to connect with experienced growers, other learners, and everyone in between.
If you would like a great book to guide your month-by-month and week-by-week gardening to-do-list, it’s hard to go past Peter Cundall’s Seasonal Tasks for The Practical Australian Gardener, available online, second-hand. This classic Australian gardening book will hold your hand as you learn to grow food, flowers and indoor plants.
Gardenate is a great guide for anyone who wants to explore what to plant when. It’s customisable, searchable and FREE to use. View online, set up regular email reminders of what to plant now or download the phone app.
Gardeners are a creative bunch and growing your own food can lead to all kinds of reuse, up-cycling and recycling as you expand what you grow and how you grow it.
In another positive step towards closing the loop and achieving a circular economy, a range of recycled plastic signs, fence posts, chicanes and bollards have been installed along the Twelve Apostles Trail to keep walkers and cyclists on the track.
Corangamite Shire Council Director Works and Services Brooke Love said products used in the project are made of soft plastic materials collected and recycled through the REDcycle Program.
“The aim is to keep the project as sustainable as possible,” Mrs Love said.
“Previously we have used virgin timber and treated timber for infrastructure projects. This project is more environmentally friendly and contributes to a circular economy, where the focus is to reduce consumption of finite materials, reuse and recycle. The approach benefits businesses, society, and the environment.”
The Twelve Apostles Trail – ‘Closing the Loop’ project is a step in the transition to sustainable infrastructure initiatives.
Council received funding from Sustainability Victoria’s Sustainable Infrastructure Fund to buy and install the recycled plastic products on the trail.
The fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government, aims to:
improve confidence in using products made from recycled materials;
demonstrate performance of existing products and standards;
increase the quantity of recycled products being sold in Victoria; and
support organisations to try new technology and processes.
Corangamite Shire is one of 18 councils sharing in more than $2.6 million through the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund to use recycled materials in infrastructure projects.
In great news for our local recycling industry, family-owned Geelong business GT Recycling has just been awarded a $3 million state and federal grant to be put towards their $4.7 million expansion. This will see the company able to process a massive extra 8,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
The grant is part of the federal Recycling Modernisation Fund and the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria program. While contributing to the mission of achieving a circular economy, it will have a number positive effects including more jobs for the region and a better outcome for the environment.
Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the grant would help GT to “install world-leading technology to recover a range of plastics from discarded agricultural plastic including plant pots, shade cloths, and tarps.”
Another positive step towards achieving a circular economy, the grant will mean that more plastic and other recycled materials will be brought back to life and see another day by being made into new recycled products.
How one of Victoria’s largest municipalities is using recycled materials to reduce waste
The City of Greater Geelong has increased its use of recycled materials through a number of creative projects and trials, seeking to find new ways of using waste as a resource.
The organisations 2019-20 Annual Report highlighted that 8,745 tonnes of recycled asphalt materials were utilised in the building and renewal of roads, footpaths and furniture, with nearly 6,548 tonnes of concrete recycled within the same period.
A particular highlight was the saving of 3,500 kilograms worth of plastic from landfill through a trial of PlastiPhalt® , a new form of micro-plastic free asphalt made from recycled plastics. PlastiPhalt® was used on various major traffic corridors throughout the Greater Geelong region, including Roslyn Road in Highton, Moorabool Street in the CBD as well as Purnell Road in Corio.
Green concrete, a form of concrete that comprises various waste materials, was also used in construction projects in both Drysdale and Corio, with a recycled rubber athletics track also constructed in North Geelong alongside seawall concrete blocks at both Western Beach Park and Eastern Beach reserve.
COGG is continuously assessing opportunities to utilise recycled materials in major construction projects, such as implementing recycled plastic bollards and benches. In May 2020, a tender was awarded to five business to provide asphalt using innovative recycling methods. The successful applicants are currently researching innovative asphalt solutions, such as foam bitumen containing recycled road and asphalt, and GripPhalt, a product which uses up to 90% recycled and renewable material. One company is also trialling glass in base layers of pavement throughout Greater Geelong.